Project Run & Play Week One: Modern Scandinavia

Welcome Project Run & Play friends! Come on in, grab some cookies and milk (I'm kidding, but I would if I could, guys) and let's get to this! We've got lots to talk about so stay awhile! First off, you can vote for your favorite look here! Second, all details about products, fabrics, and any patterns I modified are at the bottom of this post, so scroll down if you're curious. Also a big thanks to Raspberry Creek Fabrics* for sharing some of their lovely fabric with me!

My first thought when I saw the Week One challenge (All About that Place) was, "Where on EARTH would I want to take 6 children aged 7 and under?" Naturally my answer was nowhere. But then I started thinking about it and I knew exactly where I would like to go with my kids (if someone else were paying for it and I could book Mary Poppins as our travel nanny.) Scandinavia! I mean all those bright, colorful houses! It's inspirational to a searcher of bold, happy walls like myself. :) I was also inspired by old Swedish books my Mom used to read to me like Flicka, Ricka, Dicka or Snip, Snap, Snur and The Children of Noisy Village. I love the artwork in the books. The bright pops of red (especially old red barns) knee socks, pompom beanies, patched sweaters, mixed with all sorts of patterns--so kid friendly and fun. I wanted what I made to embody the charm of the old while embracing the new. So I sewed up some clothes and we went red barn hunting. And my Modern Scandinavia look was born.

I specifically designed the looks to be completely kid friendly. Nothing stiff, just comfortable and cozy, with little pops of color and fun. I think childhood should be sweet and innocent and I wanted these clothes to reflect that feeling. So we've got shawl collars, elbow patches, playful florals, and lots of knit fabric. I kept things simple, wearable, and clean with little visual surprises scattered through.

When I saw this fabric, I knew it had to be a little dress for Madelyn. I wanted the dress to be a simple design with a gathered skirt attached to the bodice and long sleeves to make it practical. I like that the rounded bodice in the front made for a nice subtle high-low hem. I decided to cut the bodice vertically between the neck and the shoulder to add ruffles that would run from the front of the bodice to the back, creating the look of an apron, without actually making Madelyn wear an apron. I made Madelyn's tights out of some mint stretchy sweater knit. They're super soft and comfy or so my four year old tells me. ;) Also we should talk about that cute wooden duck. That's a gift that my father-in-law made for Jonathon back in the day. It's hands down the cutest little toy we own. It reminded me of simple wooden Scandinavian toys.

I feel like I need to take a minute and introduce you to this unicorn. I shamelessly stole the idea for this little guy here, but I found so many inspiring Scandinavian toys that I couldn't resist. I made him late one night and I just feel like he and I are friends. His name is Charlie. ;) I needed this unicorn in my life apparently. So did Sophia, I guess, since she wouldn't let go of him for this whole shoot.

The idea for Sophia's dress came when I saw so many turtle-neck style shirts in the books I mentioned with the girls wearing skirts and knee-high socks. I decided to modernize it by making the sweater a cowl-neck cropped sweater and attaching the skirt to a lining underneath. Sophia loves to wear shirts with skirts attached and I added a couple layers of non-fray chiffon over the top of some fun playful fabric, just to give it a little feminine flair. I threw in some stripe leggings to add a little pattern mix to this party, because this is Scandinavia inspired after all. Didn't they invent stripes or something? :) And of course, I had to make a little pom pom beanie as a little reminder of the old-fashioned beanies I grew up seeing in the books. The pop of yellow on top is my little tribute to the 3 blonds Snip, Snap, & Snur. I'm such a nerd, you guys.

Lila's look is by far the most modern of the four outfits. She's growing up and doesn't often wear dresses casually. Instead, I opted to create something visually fun for her to wear that was a subtle ode to an old Scandinavian criss-cross barn door. This fabric was perfect too. Playful and whimsical and oh so soft. I made a basic raglan tunic with an opening in the front to add some eyelets and lace up another pop of yellow. In my hurry to take pictures, I forgot to tie Lila's shoelace. Don't even get me started on how much this bugs me. I've since trimmed it, but c'est la vie. :) I continued that criss-cross theme by sewing a criss-cross pattern down the side of Lila's leggings. Just a fun little visual detail that makes leggings more exciting (and more time consuming, I might add).

Ezra's look is my favorite. Probably because it's the idea I came up with first for this Scandinavian look. I love shawl collar sweaters on little boys. Not in a weird way, just in a "Oh look how adorable" way. You understand. This sweater took a lot of time for me to figure out how to do and I was so happy with the way it turned out. Oh, and leather elbow patches because I had to. It's a sweater that would make my grandpa proud. :) Plus pockets make everything better too. This french terry knit from Raspberry Creek Fabrics was fantastic to work with and made the guessing game of how to put this thing together much easier. For the long-sleeve t-shirt, I used a Swiss Cross fabric because (even though it's not technically Scandinavian I guess?) I loved how clean the print was. The fabric is so soft and comfy. Ezra is a fan. And a ham. He was really layin' on the charm in this photo shoot. I up-cycled a pair of adult jeans to make these little skinny jeans. I bleached them in some places to modernize them and create a "worn" look. That's hip these days and he's gonna wear them to death anyway, right? I also opted just to leave the frayed look and cuff the jeans at the bottom. I promise it wasn't laziness, I just loved the carefree vibe, like a little boy on a farm in Sweden back in the day who wouldn't have cared anyway. And last, I always like to sew a stretchy waistband onto jeans for Ezra because he hates to snap the button. Ain't nobody got time for that. Too many towers to build.

Overall, I had a blast creating this look. Their were some definite stressful days and I have to sincerely thank my sweet husband for being my rock and sounding board through this process. Again, you can vote for my look or your favorite look here! Now if you need me, I'll be working up the courage to pack these kids up and take them farther than the McDonald's play place. :)

Madelyn's Look: used an old shirt that fit well as a pattern, added a rounded front bodice, high-low hem, and ruffles based on measurements. Traced some old tights as a pattern for the tights.
Dress fabric
Tights fabric

Sophia's Look: used an old shirt and skirt and leggings as a pattern base. Made the shirt pattern into a cropped sweater and added a cowl neck, added 2 extra layers to the skirt, and attached skirt to lining underneath the sweater. Changed leggings to fit better based on Sophia's measurements.
Sweater Fabric
skirt overlay fabric
leggings fabric

Lila's Look: Used a raglan sweater and leggings as a pattern base. Lengthened sweater into a tunic, increased size to make it more comfortable, added an opening in the front for eyelets and used a shoelace to lace it up. Added an opening and a fabric criss-cross pattern down the side of either leg of the legging pattern.
Tunic Fabric c/o Raspberry Creek Fabrics (sold out but similar here)
Leggings Fabric

Ezra's Look: Started with the Varsity Cowl by Peekaboo Patterns. Modified by making it a button up sweater. Decreased the size of the original cowl neck, added folded bands on either side of the cowl, added buttons, and pockets, changed size of waistband. Shirt pattern traced with an old short sleeve t-shirt, I modified by adding long sleeves. Jeans started with the Skinny Jeans by Peekaboo Patterns, I modified by increasing size based on measurements, omitted the original waistband and button and added a rib knit elastic waistband, omitted hem and turned up to cuff raw edge of fabric instead.
Sweater Fabric c/o Raspberry Creek Fabrics
T-shirt Fabric c/o Raspberry Creek Fabrics (sold out but same found here)
Jean fabric upcycled

*Again, huge shout out to Raspberry Creek Fabrics for the beautiful fabric they sent. You guys, I am not not not a person who approaches companies to see if they'd be interested in working with me. As a general rule, I just don't. I'm way too terrified and awkward and I have this fear of seeming insincere to readers, but this challenge forced me to be brave and I approached Raspberry Creek because I genuinely order fabric from their shop already and I've always been impressed by the quality of their fabric and fast shipping. Diana was so kind and gracious when I asked her if she'd be willing to send me a few yards of fabric for free. Cannot say enough good about Raspberry Creek. All opinions are my own and all that stuff, but really guys, I don't sponsor things ever, so just know I'm being 100% honest with you and if you're looking for great fabric, I'd highly recommend.


  1. I love all you bright colors and prints! I can't believe how many outfits you did sew! Also the red barn is the perfect backdrop! Xo, Lisa @sewwhatyoulove

  2. I am just blown away! WOW!!! I can't believe you were able to sew so many fantastic outfits!! I love how they all coordinate, too. Awesome job!!!

  3. I think I feel a sort of kinship with you! I have six kids too, and live in Idaho and I love Scandanavia (we are Danish and Norwegian :) Great outfits though, I especially love how they are so kid friendly--and how did you manage to sew so many!!! remarkable, really!! I have followed pRP for awhile now, and was once an avid participant, and I know that my outfits now would be more knits, leggings and things I know they would wear. If I'm going to carve out time to make something, they better be wearing it:) Congrats again and hope you win!

  4. I think you nailed your vision perfectly! And sooo many creations! you are a machine!

  5. My goodness, Bethany! Not one, not two, not three, but FOUR outfits! Unbelievable! The feminine details on Madelyns ruffle dress, and the charming coziness of Sophia's little outfit, along with the modern twist on the leggings for Lila were just too clever! However, I have a favorite, and it is Ezra's adorable patched sweater with those rugged little jeans. So manly and real. Loved it!

  6. This is simply W.O.W.
    Your blog name talks about superman, but obviouly you're superwoman! I outfits for my two kids during 3 of the 4 weeks that I competed in PRP and it was so much work. I cannot imagine how much work this must have been. And even though the pieces themselves aren't extremly complicated (which is not a bad thing! I love making clothes that kids will actually wear!), altogether they are so fantastic.
    Btw. I'm from Germany and have been several times to Norway and Sweden. In Sweden we even visited almost all locations and the birth house of Astrid Lindgren (author of Noisy Village). I can assure you that you should start saving for a Sweden trip right away. It's worth it!!!

  7. I bet when you compete on Project Run and Play that it is so tempting to sew for the "Look" instead of kid friendly. You are one smart lady though and the kid friendly looks are darling! I really enjoyed reading your blog post as you shared your thinking behind the design of your outfits. Overall, I think your contest submission was a winner!
    Deborah Devine @ Sew Much To Give

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  9. Wow! Such an amazing and helpful post this is. I really really love it. It's so good and so awesome. I am just amazed. I hope that you continue to do your work like this in the future also newtown game


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